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What Is Christian Music?

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  • Written By: Susan Grindstaff
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2016
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Christian music is music devoted to the Christian faith. The most common genres are considered gospel music and Christian soft rock. Some Christian music is performed as hard rock or heavy metal, but this genre is considered much less common. Regardless of the type of music used for the background theme, Christian songs typically have lyrics centered on the faith.

Gospel music typically refers to traditional Christian songs, usually performed by church choirs or gospel groups. Many gospel groups consist of four members who sing the songs in four-part harmony, and they are often referred to as quartets. In most cases, men are assigned the vocals for bass and tenor, while women sing the alto and soprano harmonies. Bass is the lowest harmony, followed by tenor and alto, with the highest vocal being that of the soprano. In some cases, these groups perform in five-part harmony, which adds an additional soprano vocal that is referred to as a second soprano.

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Christian soft rock is another popular type of Christian music. This music is very similar to mainstream soft rock, except that the wording usually involves verses relating to Christian faith and worship. This genre of music is also sometimes referred to as Christian "lite" rock, or inspirational music. Christian soft rock is considered non-traditional, but in most cases, is widely accepted by most Christian faiths. Christian soft rock bands usually include members who sing vocals and play instruments such as guitars, drums, and piano, in addition to bass guitar and the occasional wind instrument.

Hard rock and heavy metal are two other genres of music sometimes devoted to Christian entertainment. These genres are much less common, and some Christians do not accept them as appropriate genres for Christian worship. In most every way, Christian hard rock and heavy metal are identical to their mainstream versions, except for the song lyrics, which are devoted to Christian faith. These genres are more popular among Christian teenagers and young adults. Some Christians who find these genres offensive believe it promotes base emotions that can lead to reckless behavior considered at odds with their faith.

Christian music has many different performance outlets. This music is played during church services, on radio stations, and in performance halls. It is also commonly used as music themes for weddings, funerals, and other church events. Groups who perform Christian music seldom earn the same type of money that mainstream groups do, but some of them do gain a great deal of popularity through touring and music sales.

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panda2006
Post 2

While I appreciate people who want to make and listen to Christian music that sounds like pop or rock, I have known people who thought this was the only music Christians should listen to- that other pop and rock were not acceptable. This disappoints me, because I know people who listen to non-Christian metal and also love to worship. This is a middle ground I hope we can bridge in the coming years.

widget2010
Post 1

Churches really can perform varied music. I would not call gospel music the same as high church, or traditional, music, for example. Traditional high church music tends to follow typical hymnal sounds, with many different instruments accompanying or even just organ and piano.

Also, traditional music has more of a clear choral sound. Gospel tends to swing more, to have more individual singers' voices, and to use more clapping and percussion. Of course, many churches also do a little of both, and both can sound really excellent with the right group of singers.

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